TCI Friday

Some of you may be aware that I have just returned from two weeks in Wales, my ancestral home, and the place most of my aunts, uncles and cousins live. While I was there I buried my father’s ashes in the small cemetery in our family village, about 300yds from the farm where he was born. I delivered a eulogy. It was, as you can imagine, a heavy and emotional time.

On the way back, after Aer Lingus had routed us through about 3 hours of airport queues and obstacles for the 40 minute flight from Manchester to Dublin, I watched the movie Interstellar. It’s a space drama with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. None of that is really important. What matters is that Michael Caine’s character delivered a stirring rendition of Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Being in a sentimental and highly-Welsh frame of mind, and having delivered a eulogy whose main message, via my father, was “life is for living,” this accidental encounter with Thomas’ verse had quite an effect on me.

As I get older and my body shows the signs of hard wear, I am confronted with a regular choice, whether to ease up or push on. This isn’t really a choice though. Ease up AND push on is the most likely way forward, always forward. It’s the only way. It is the only choice.

For me that means holding onto the bike, all the bikes, as long as I can. I can concede that it will be increasingly less prudent to spend time off the ground, what with the fragility of aging bones, but cultivating tolerable risk is, to me, a big part of living (and riding) to the fullest.

I won’t know until my own end whether I have adequately raged against the dying of the light, but today it’s very much in my mind, to remain willing, to keep taking risks, to do things that make me happy even if less well than I might have wanted.

On my last day in Wales I walked back over to the cemetery with my wife. There are some lovely trees there and lazy sheep wander up and nibble at the hedge. The grass is always green. I said to her, “I wonder if this where I’ll end up, right here somewhere,” not in a sad way, but in a hopeful and realistic and yes, sentimental kind of way, and then I thought, “But not yet. There’s still a lot to do.”

This week’s TCI Friday wonders if you think you’re raging hard enough. I’m no one to judge. In the end, it only matters what you think and feel about your own time here, but where are you on the rage-o-meter out of 10. I’d put myself, currently at a 7. There is raging still to do.

Join the conversation
  1. johnrom719 says

    The trip sounded great, Robot. Lots of aunts and cousins and uncles to kiss and coo. Many sheep to swoon and shear. Peaks a plenty and grass, oh the grass.

    I find the raging must take a different shape as more sand mounds in the bottom of the glass. Kissing and cooing is a way to rage against the dark, as much as the grind and hustle. According to the ancient Hebrews, God made rest before man made sin. A cycle of work and sabbath seems a healthy pattern, and perhaps a way to push the darkness off a little further.

    BTW, did you get an email from Mrs. Shadow Producer?

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      Nothing from Mrs Shadow Producer. I’ll keep you posted.

  2. Jeff vdD says

    I’m raging hard enough. Which isn’t very hard. At 57, I’ve never been as happy and content as I am now.

    If even one wheel is off the ground for more time than it takes to get up a curb, I’m over my head (and sometimes simultaneously over my heels). I don’t really take what I think of as unreasonable risks, but we’re all sometimes one blow-out or other unexpected event away from the wrong side of risk.

  3. eborling says

    At 45 I feel like I am at the crossroads. I often don’t feel like I am raging hard enough, but then I can get unhappy if I feel like I am forcing myself to go out and rage. Sometimes forcing myself out to rage makes me happy. So, man, I don’t know. I’m glad I still am raging, and progressing (depending on the metric employed), yet OK with regressing (again, depending on the metric) sometimes. I do still take risks, but even though the wheels are often off the ground or the speeds get up there, the risks don’t seem unmanageable. There is body maintenance to do, but I hate to waste a day that I am stoked to ride with time doing yoga or strength training.

    So, in brief, I am still trying to figure it out.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      It doesn’t sound like you’re at the crossroads. It seems like you’ve got it dialed. I wouldn’t think too much harder about it.

  4. spokejunky says

    Definitely not raging hard enough. A lot of that has to do with conquering the introvert.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      Believe it or not, I’m an introvert too. I LOVE to ride alone. The downside is that I’m less likely to try a new jump or drop when I’m by myself. It doesn’t mean I can’t rage. It just means that discretion becomes the better part of valor.

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